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Renewable Energy – Recast to 2030 (RED II)

In November 2016, the European Commission published its ‘Clean Energy for all Europeans’ initiative. As part of this package, the Commission adopted a legislative proposal for a recast of the Renewable Energy Directive. In the context of the co-decision procedure, a final compromise text among the EU institutions was agreed in June 2018. The RED II Directive is expected to be published by the end of 2018.


In RED II, the overall EU target for Renewable Energy Sources consumption by 2030 has been raised to 32%. The Commission’s original proposal did not include a transport sub-target, which has been introduced by co-legislators in the final agreement: Member States must require fuel suppliers to supply a minimum of 14% of the energy consumed in road and rail transport by 2030 as renewable energy.

Each Member States will define the detailed trajectory to reach these targets in the Integrated National Energy and Climate Plans. These plans will be designed by each Member State based on the guidelines set out in the Energy Union Governance Regulation.



The RED II defines a series of sustainability and GHG emission criteria that bioliquids used in transport must comply with to be counted towards the overall 14% target and to be eligible for financial support by public authorities. Some of these criteria are the same as in the original RED, while others are new or reformulated. In particular, the RED II introduces sustainability for forestry feedstocks as well as GHG criteria for solid and gaseous biomass fuels.

Default GHG emission values and calculation rules are provided in Annex V (for liquid biofuels) and Annex VI (for solid and gaseous biomass for power and heat production) of the RED II. The Commission can revise and update the default values of GHG emissions when technological developments make it necessary. Economic operators have the option to either use default GHG intensity values provided in RED II or to calculate actual values for their pathway.

Greenhouse gas savings thresholds in RED II
Plant operation start dateTransport biofuelsTransport renewable fuels of non-biological originElectricity, heating and cooling
Before October 201550%--
After October 201560%--
After January 202165%70%70%
After January 202665%70%80%

Biofuels, bioliquids and biomass fuels from agricultural biomass must not be produced from raw materials originating from:


  • High biodiversity land (as of January 2008), including: primary forests; areas designated for nature protection or for the protection of rare and endangered ecosystems or species; and highly biodiverse grasslands;
  • High carbon stock land that changed use after 2008 from wetlands, continuously forested land or other forested areas with trees higher than five meters and canopy cover between 10% and 30%;
  • Land that was peatland in January 2008.

The sustainability criteria apply to plants with a total rated thermal input above 20MW for installations producing power, heating, cooling or fuels from solid biomass fuels and to plants with total rated thermal input capacity equal to or exceeding 2MW for installations using gaseous biomass fuels. 

The RED II introduces new sustainability criteria for forestry feedstocks and mandates that harvesting takes place with legal permits, the harvesting level does not exceed the growth rate of the forest, and that forest regeneration takes place. In addition, biofuels and bioenergy from forest materials must comply with requirements which mirror the principles contained in the EU Land Use, Land Use Change and Forestry (LULUCF) Regulation. The “forestry” criteria apply either at the country level or at forest sourcing area level: the Commission will define implementation guidelines by 31 January 2021.



Within the 14% transport sub-target, there is a dedicated target for advanced biofuels produced from feedstocks listed in Part A of Annex IX. These fuels must be supplied at a minimum of 0.2% of transport energy in 2022, 1% in 2025 and increasing to at least 3.5% by 2030.

  • Advanced biofuels will be double-counted towards both the 3.5% target and towards the 14% target.
  • Biofuels produced from feedstocks listed in Part B of Annex IX will be capped at 1.7% in 2030 and will also be double counted towards the 14% target.

Biofuels and bioenergy produced from waste and residues listed in Annex IX only need to comply with the GHG emission sustainability criterion.



The maximum contribution of biofuels produced from food and feed crops will be frozen at 2020 consumption levels plus an additional 1% with a maximum cap of 7% of road and rail transport fuel in each Member State. If the total share of conventional biofuels is less than 1% by 2020 in any Member State, the cap for those countries will still be 2% in 2030. Further, if the cap on food and feed crops in a Member State is less than 7%, the country may reduce the transport target by the same amount (for example, a country with a food and feed crop cap of 5% could set a transport target as low as 12%). “Intermediate crops” such as catch and-cover crops are exempt from this cap.

Fuels produced from feedstocks with “high indirect land-use change-risk” will be limited by a more restrictive cap at the 2019 consumption level, and will then be phased out to 0% by 2030 unless specific batches are certified as “low indirect land-use change-risk.” “Low indirect land-use change-risk” feedstocks include those that are produced on land that was not previously cultivated.

Renewable electricity will count 4 times its energy content towards the 14% renewable energy in transport target when used in road vehicles, and 1.5 times when used in rail transport. The renewable electricity used in road vehicles and rail can be calculated on the basis of either the average share of renewable electricity in the EU or in the Member State where the electricity is supplied. The Commission will also develop a framework to guarantee that the renewable electricity used in transport is in addition to the baseline of renewable electricity generation in each Member State.

Fuels used in the aviation and maritime sectors can opt in to contribute to the 14% transport target but are not subject to an obligation. The contribution of non-food renewable fuels supplied to these sectors will count 1.2 times their energy content.



According to RED II Member States

  • can exempt or distinguish between different fuel suppliers and energy carriers when defining their trajectory to achieve the 14% minimum sub-target in the transport sector;
  • are free to choose the most suitable form of support for renewables in transport, for example volume mandates, energy mandates or GHG emission savings targets;
  • can distinguish between different types of conventional biofuels and set different limits for each category (for example, setting a lower cap on oil crops than other types of food and feed crops);
  • can set lower limits on food and feed-based biofuels than prescribed in the RED II and may also reduce the 14% renewable energy in transport target by the same 
  • can set a different cap level for biofuels produced by feedstocks in Part B of Annex IX if justified by the local availability of such feedstocks; and » can define additional sustainability criteria for bioenergy but not for biofuels.



Member States must transpose RED II provisions into national legislation by 30 June, 2021 with several technicalities and revision clauses being defined via delegated and implementing acts.

  • The Commission will review the overall 32% target by 2023, as well as the 14% sub-target for transport, and could propose to increase, but not decrease, the targets.
  • The Commission must review the feedstocks included in Annex IX every two years and may add feedstocks to the list, but cannot remove any.
  • The Commission must set out criteria by February 2019 to define both “high indirect land-use change-risk” and ‘low indirect land-use change-risk’ feedstocks. These findings will be reviewed by 2023.
  • The Commission must set a GHG reduction threshold for recycled carbon fuels by January 2021, and by December 2021 must specify the methodology for GHG accounting for these fuels and for renewable fuels of non-biological origin.
  • By January 2021, the Commission must define the operational guidance required to demonstrate compliance with the sustainable forest management criteria and the LULUCF requirements.
  • In 2026, the Commission must propose a regulatory framework for the promotion of renewable energy for the post-2030 period.